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How to put up to 23 Sata Hdds in a file server???

Discussion in 'Storage Drives' started by God, 10 Jan 2006.

  1. God

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Jan 2003

    Posts: 146

    Location: Third Squible from the wibble.

    Ok, its as simple as the title says.

    I am building a new file server that I want to have the capability to take up 23 Sata hdds as thats as many as the case I am buying tomorrow can take. Now I am not putting 23 in straight away, as can't afford to do that, but I will be putting enough in to take it up to 2.4 Tb.

    What I need to know is how am I to do this. From what I have read, I am looking for a fabled 'Port Multiplier' to multiply the number of output ports from on SATA PCI cards. However I don't seem to be able to find any of these things.

    Anyone feel like helping out a rather confused deity? ;)

    Cheers

    Ian...
     
  2. Torch [P4]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 1,124

    Location: Elgin

    why not buy 2 12port raid cards? seems the simplest solution
    we build 24 drive servers quite a lot and thats the current route we have taken
    2 9500S 3ware cards, they are pricey tho but have a LOT of very useful features

    http://www.pc-pitstop.com/sata_raid_controllers/9500S_12.asp

    the current lean favours multilane connectors as well as having that many sata connectors in one box can be messy
    here is our previous attempts before multilane cables came along

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Torch [P4]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 1,124

    Location: Elgin

    this is *** a multilane connector looks like
    [​IMG]

    as u can c it effectively takes 4 sata ports and pipes the data thru one solid dtype port

    u can actually get backplanes with multilane modules at the rear, so instead of having 24 sata cables lurking in there you would just have 6 multilane cables :)
    however again very expensive but much easier to work with and less hassle in the long run,
     
  4. Torch [P4]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 1,124

    Location: Elgin

  5. God

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Jan 2003

    Posts: 146

    Location: Third Squible from the wibble.

    Hey,

    That last one was exactly what I was after.

    As much I would love to be able to afford 2 12 port cards, the costs are just far to prohibitive. I do however see a major problem with the port mulitiplier, and that is the weakness it adds to any raid setup that I have. i.e. where it thinks there is only 1 drive there is in fact now 5.

    Is there anyway I can work around this, or at least reduce its effects. Assuming I have no knowledge of Raid, which I don't... :)

    Ian...
     
  6. Torch [P4]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 1,124

    Location: Elgin

    yeah info is a bit sketchy but it looks like it will set the drives up as Raid 0 automatically whilst great for speed and storage not very good for redundancy
    however if u used two of them on a 2 port raid card and mirrored the set this would give u good security,
    this would seem to be the only way of getting around that using that type of port multiplier,
     
  7. God

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Jan 2003

    Posts: 146

    Location: Third Squible from the wibble.

    From what I am reading I think that it may do Raid 5....

    I will check tomorrow once I have had some sleep... :)

    Ian...
     
  8. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    I have the PCI-E SATA II HOST adapter which that connects to. It's called a SATA II 2 Port Controller Card PCI Express. I got it only today. It runs on the SIL 3132 chipset and when you plug the port multiplier into this card, it does RAID0,1,(3),5,10. 3 is the only one I'm not sure about. It's a great little PCI-express card this. It does NCQ, SATA-II and runs on the PCI-express x1 bus so no PCI bus constraints! And it was dead cheap at £19.

    So connecting the SIL 3132 to the SIL 3176 port multiplier is what you are looking for. I have searched for 2 solid days for the port mulitplier in the UK but to no avail - it's a snip over £80 (converted) if you order from the states where it is in abundance though :).

    It may not be a 3Ware or Highpoint etc but I am only a home user and have little need for such luxuries.
     
  9. Sigg

    Gangster

    Joined: 1 Dec 2003

    Posts: 452

    Location: France

    Why not just use 5 cheap 4 channel cards? You can get a 4 port RAID card for cheaper or the same price as the bridge cards. Together with a 4 channel motherboard that gives you enough capacity. Use software RAID instead of the on-board RAID & you can build arrays spanning different controller cards, you could also extend the arrays as you add more capacity. I might be missing something (does anyone know if you can use that many controller cards together??), but it seem like the cheapest solution & adequate for a home media server.
     
  10. God

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Jan 2003

    Posts: 146

    Location: Third Squible from the wibble.

    What is the software for combining this many/any cards together, and what are the major problems with this over hardware solutions?

    Ian....
     
  11. God

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Jan 2003

    Posts: 146

    Location: Third Squible from the wibble.

    Has anyone got any experience of this card:

    Supermicro 8 Port SATA 2 RAID Card (PCI/PCI-X)

    It seems awfully cheap where I have seen them (Sorry not here :( ), so I was wondering why that may be?

    Ian...
     
  12. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    No experience but make sure it is PCI and not PCI-X - unless you happen to have a server board...
     
  13. God

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Jan 2003

    Posts: 146

    Location: Third Squible from the wibble.

    Interesting... it says PCI/PCI-X, but I can't find any mention of the PCI version...
     
  14. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    I went to their webbie - it's PCI-X only.
     
  15. God

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Jan 2003

    Posts: 146

    Location: Third Squible from the wibble.

    Ok, so I need another choice of affordable cards then, or afforadable PCI-X mobo (Cough cough splutter)

    Ian...
     
  16. Dimension

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 536

    Location: Bed's

    I use that card in my server. it works well, I have had 6x 250gb drives hooked up to it for over 6 months without any problems.

    I have recently found that i could have a problem when i have a drive failure, as i use software raid 5, i have no way of identifying the faulty drive !! you have to hope that windows is seeing the drives in the same order as they are connected to the raid card.


    Performance wise i get upto 200mb/sec reads and around 40mb/sec writes. this is with 2x 2.8 xeons and 4gb of ram.
     
  17. Mercutio

    Mobster

    Joined: 11 Jun 2003

    Posts: 4,885

    Location: Sheffield, UK

    PCI-X cards work fine in a PCI board, you just dont get the extra bandwidth and have to have the physical space to fit the card beyond the normal space of the slot :)

    Am looking with MUCH interest at the multiplier card though. Currently either that or the ASUS ALI board with onboard raid5 as hot contender.
     
  18. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    Interesting, didn't know that. It's akin to PCI-e (though the other way round) using only a few lanes (1x, 4x) of say a 16x slot. Cool.
     
  19. God

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Jan 2003

    Posts: 146

    Location: Third Squible from the wibble.

    That explains my confusion over PCI/PCI-X cards.....

    However due to the case I have chosen, it looks like I am going to have to go down the IDE route now, or have to replace 23 hot swappable bays...

    But I am not 100% sure yet, not until I have the case in my hands.

    So the question should maybe now be How to put up to 23 ide Hdds in a file server???

    Ian...
     
  20. Dimension

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 536

    Location: Bed's

    I forgot to mention. you will have to buy a RAID controler and drives that support staggered spin up, as 23 drives powering up at once will overload even a high end 500W psu

    once their spinning they only use a few milliamps, but at spin up it can be upto 2 amps each. you would need around 46amps on the 12v rail for the drives alone.

    If you stagger the spin up you will get away with a normal psu